My heart and my head have been spinning since Monday night’s announcement that Officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted for the murder of Michael Brown. Unfortunately, I was not surprised by the jury’s decision. The system in America is not set up to protect people of color; inversely, it continues to oppress them by perpetuating racist policies.
I am sick with shame and anger and grief and yet I remember that I am not afraid to encounter a police officer in the street. As a white person, I will never understand the experience of a person of color in America, and yet, I know that I have to intentionally try, every day, to work for justice for all. I have to recognize my own privilege and prejudices and work to combat them and broaden my own understanding of how my whiteness impacts my perception of the world. I have to have intentional conversations with my friends and family about race and privilege. I have to pray for justice and never stop speaking out about it.
But, this is not about me. This is about a community torn apart by hatred and yet another black boy taken from this life for no reason. It’s about an entire country prioritizing one life over another, based on the color of their skin. Ferguson is a reminder of the horrifying reality of racism that is alive and well, not just in Missouri, but in the systems that govern our lives. We cannot forget Michael Brown. We cannot let the holidays derail this conversation. We cannot allow more Darren Wilsons. We have to keep fighting and organizing and shouting and praying. Engage in racial justice conversations, do not allow racist comments to slide by, encourage others to educate themselves and be aware of all the ways the system encourages oppression.
I heard this poem earlier this month, and it has stuck in my gut ever since.
“Once, a white girl was kidnapped & that’s the Trojan war. Later, up the block, Troy got shot & that was Tuesday. Are we not worthy of a city of ash?”
black lives matter.